When I was admitted to the Trauma-Neuro ICU, Allison Arnold was the nurse assigned to me. I was paralyzed from the neck down due to an Acute Spinal Cord Infarct of Unknown Origin. I was in a lot of pain, and very scared when I was admitted because no-one knew what was wrong with me. As soon as I met Allison she greeted me and my family with a big bright smile. Everything was confusing and such a whirl wind but Allison took the extra time to explain what was going on to me and my family. She immediately comforted me and made me feel more calm.
I had many, many tests that first day and Allison was there encouraging me, talking me through and explaining each test and she even stayed with me during a couple of them. At the end of her shift there were several doctors consulting on my case; neurologists, hematologists, interventional neuro-radiologist and a neurosurgeon. They were not very positive about what was going on or my prognosis. Allison continued to encourage me and my family with her bright smile, positive attitude and comforting words. She gave my mom some advice about what our family could do to help me stay positive and not scared, to make me feel comfortable in the hospital environment and to help keep the rest of my life as normal as we could.
I'm sure Allison must have been somewhat scared about my prognosis as well, but she never let me see that. She remained courageous and compassionate. Allison was off on Monday so I had a different nurse who was good, but my mom knew that I was much more encouraged by Allison's personality and optimism. My mom asked the charge nurse if she could request Allison the next two shifts she was scheduled to work. As it turned out Allison was already scheduled to me those shifts.
Tuesday morning Allison brought me Koloche's for breakfast! I hadn't been able to eat very much and didn't have much of an appetite. I needed to begin eating but the hospital food just wasn't agreeing with me. Allison thought the Koloche's would be something that would taste good to me and would settle with my stomach. It was the first thing I was able to eat that week. During these first several days when the doctors weren't sure what had happened or what my prognosis was, Allison would just come in to my room at times and sit with me and hold my hand. I could tell she genuinely cared about me.
Finally, the doctors agreed on my diagnosis but initially didn't give me and my family much hope of me re-gaining much of my mobility back. Allison still remained positive; she was humorous but yet respectful, thoughtful and kind. All that I've said thus far has to do with how she made me feel, and I haven't touched on her nursing abilities yet. Thankfully, until now I didn't know much about medical things or nursing care. With the little knowledge of nursing care that I have, I can only say that Allison was very professional and respectful with me and my family. She explained all of the medical things that were happening to me and all of the things she had to do to me. She asked if we had any questions, she seemed thorough and confident in her nursing skills, was gentle and deliberate. I could tell she is very dedicated to her work and her patients.
She took her time doing what she needed to do, all the while making me feel at ease. I felt like a person...not like a patient. Allison was my nurse the next day as well. By this time, I was beginning to prove the skeptical doctors wrong and was starting to be able to move some of my fingers on my left side. Allison was almost as excited about my progress as my family was. I was sad to say goodbye to her as her shift ended that day as I knew she was going on vacation and I probably wouldn't see her again. By the end of her last shift I felt like Allison was not only a great nurse that took care of me at the hospital during a terrifying time in my life, but I felt like I had made a new friend who really cared about me.